Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Off to Laos, Leg One

As many of you know, my family and I are embarking on the great adventure of our lives: a move across the world to Laos.  But first, I am visiting my parents and my in-laws, and going to a family reunion.  So, stop number one: Grandma and Grandpa in Kansas.

Our day begins at 7:20am.  After a grueling day of sorting and packing and running errands, we slept at a hotel and were very tired when we set the alarm for 7:20am.  Matt's flight was set to leave at 9:40am, so we probably should have gotten up at 6:20am.  Oops.  We left the hotel at about 10 after 8, which is the time Matt had hoped to arrive at the airport.

We turned in the rental car and got on a train to get to the airport.  We had two smart carts full of luggage, a stroller full of Bobby, and Scott full of energy.  It was difficult to get him and us and our stuff in and out of two or three elevators and on and off a train. Matt gave up on making his flight on time and decided to focus on having me and the kids ready to get on our plane on time.  We went to check in and one of our bags was overweight, so Matt did some shuffling.  They told us that if we had to pay for our two big bags and another carry-on size, we would have to pay $85.  Or, we could upgrade our two seats for $69 each and not pay for luggage.  We opted for first class.  We were still tagging all of our bags, but we were all checked in, so I told Matt to run over to Delta and try to get on his flight.  Scott begged to go with him, so I said we would meet up at security.

I finished up with the bags and the boarding passes, grabbed our rolling carry-on and the stroller and booked it over to Delta and couldn't find Matt anywhere in the Delta terminal.  I called him and he said he was behind me.  He had taken a wrong turn and was now positive he wouldn't make it.  We gave him tearful hugs and kisses (we won't see him for 5 weeks) and headed through security by ourselves.

I took off my shoes, took out my laptop, broke down my stroller, pushed Scott through the metal detector, walked through with Bobby, put on my shoes, put my laptop and Bobby in the stroller and headed for the elevator for the train to the terminal.  We got off the train and headed to another elevator where there were 4 wheelchairs ahead of us in line. After the first 2 wheelchairs went up, Scott said, "I have to go potty!"  I told him he had to wait because there are no bathrooms on that floor.  When the next elevator came, we sardined ourselves into it with 2 wheelchairs and 2 workers, our stroller, a carry on, me and Scott.  Then we sprinted for the bathroom.

Scott made it to the toilet in time, while I stood outside the stall so as not to leave my child or baggage unattended.  Then I had to wait for 10 minutes for a handicapped stall so I could go to the bathroom with my two boys and my bags.  Not my most flattering moment.  I washed my hands and headed for the gate.

When I arrived, they were boarding zones 1-4.  I was zone 1.  I went up and said I needed a gate check tag for my stroller, handed her our boarding passes and walked down the jetway.  Scott ran down ahead of me and I called after him, "Tell them you're in 3D or F."  When I got down to the bottom and started getting Bobby out and repacking the stuff that had gotten into my stroller during our sojourn, Scott was in the arms of a very kind flight attendant, Dana.  Then another flight attendant came and took my bag for me and put it in a bin.  I got Bobby and sat down after Scott made some announcements to all of the passengers, "Welcome aboard flight 656 to Kansas City.  I'm Scott.  I'm 3 years old, and I will be your captain today."  Dana was telling him what to say.  Very cute.  We sat down and I was just about to breathe a sigh of relief when I realized Scott didn't have his backpack, which contains his most prized possessions: his baby blanket and his monkey.  I told the flight attendant that I had to go get it.  I ran back up the jetway leaving my children behind.  In tears, I asked the people at the gate, "Have you seen a Buzz Lightyear backpack?" No answer.  I sprinted to the bathroom.  "Has anyone seen a Buzz Lightyear backpack?"  A glorious voice rang out, "It's right here!"  I grabbed the bag, yelled, "Thank you!" and sprinted back to the gate and back to my kids.  Now, I could breathe a sigh of relief.  But what about Matt?

Matt had called and texted already by the time I checked my phone.  His flight had been delayed by a full hour, so he did not miss his plane and he was already at his gate and ready to go.  Hallelujah!

Bobby spent about 80% of the flight flailing around in my arms, thrashing and crying.  Dana came back several times and took one of my boys away.  She even took Bobby while he was crying and walked him up and down the plane or found him a snack or drink in the galley.  That woman seriously deserves a raise.  Scott sat quietly and played games on the iPad for most of the flight.  At least I was only battling with one.

When it was time to get off the plane, we found we had lost a toy, Henry's coal tender to be precise, which is brand new and would be a devastating loss.  So, I looked all over and then found it in my backpack.  Phew.  Crisis averted.  We sat with Dana for a little while as most everyone left the plane (waving goodbye to Scott as they went), and then set up the stroller and we were on our way.  Scott got tired a few times and I let him stand on the back of Bobby's stroller to catch his breath.  (My plan was to bring a double stroller, but the movers packed it up and it's now in our storage facility and by the time we figured it out, it was too late to go back and get it, even if we would be able to find it among hundreds of brown paper packages which are now no longer one of my favorite things.)  I was getting our bags off the carousel when I realized that I had left my roller carry-on on the plane.  Ah!!!  (At the time, luckily, I couldn't remember what was in it or I would have been really frantic.  It contains all of our important legal documents including passports, social security cards, and birth certificates, and my camera!  Ah!!!)  A man behind me heard my exclamation of forgetfulness and said I should hurry back and get it.  I really couldn't "hurry" with two car seats, two huge bags, a stroller, and a three year old.  So, I decided to go out to the curb with what I had, pack up the kids and then head back in to see what I could do.

My mom had the original plan to park and come in to help me wheel my stuff to the car, but alas, all of the parking lots were full.  Of course.  So I put a car seat on each big bag and told Scotty to push Bobby out the door, which he did--people in the airport parting the way for him rather than be charged by a small child in a stroller who couldn't see where he was going.  We waited outside for about 10 minutes watching the cars go by and Scott asked about each one, "Is that grandma's car?"  I finally decided to call her and as I did so, I looked to my right and there she was, parked just 100 feet way from where we stood.  I saw a security guard tell her to circle around again, so I told Scott to push the stroller again and I got the car seats and bags and ran to Mom's car before she was made to leave.  I told Mom about my bags and she went inside to ask questions while I got the car seats, luggage, and boys situated.  She came back and I went in to get my final checked bag and to ask about my carry-on.

My checked bag was waiting for me in the baggage service office and they started using walkie talkies to let me know about my bag.  I said, "It looks just like this, but gray." It did not have my name on it, and I did not personally put it in an overhead bin, so I have no idea where on the plane it ended up.  But they found it!  I just had to go back to my gate and pick it up from security.  Mom picked me up on the curb once more and we were on our way.

Aren't you exhausted?  And that was only from 7:20am eastern to 1pm central.  What a day!  I think I deserve a medal.


Austin and Jennifer said...

Yes, yes you do. I've traveled with Gianna so many times and the term 'it takes a village'literally applies! Good luck on the rest, we can't wait to read it!

Shirlene said...

Becky, you deserve more than a medal! I am exhausted already. I hope your visit with your parents will be much more relaxing! Tell them hi for me, and good luck with the next leg of your adventure.

Amanda Kersey said...

Holy shmagolis! I'm exhausted... You definitely deserve the purple heart of air travel.

Hannah Neville McMillan said...

oh my word that sounds SOOOOO STRESSFUL!!!!! but I'm so glad everything worked out!

Stephanie said...

See - you are way tougher that you think! If anyone can do it all - it's you! Glad you are with your family for a visit. Happy adventures!